We can all think of a few things that make us less productive, but are there more creeping into your routine than you realise?
There is a whole range of things that we are guilty of daily that will end up hurting your productivity.
How many of these are you guilty of?
End the morning rush madness
We have all been there, some a lot more than others. You wake up late, or even worse snooze your alarm for hours, and then the frenzied morning rush begins. You’re trying to iron your shirt and brush your teeth at the same time like a crazy person. It’s when you start allowing the one offs to become routine that your productivity starts to fall.
When you start your day in a mild panic to get to work, your brain has had no time to decompress, reset and take stock of the day’s tasks that lay ahead. What you’ve actually done is pump the command centre of your body with adrenaline first thing in the morning, and what goes up must come down. So expect an afternoon crash later in the day.
If you always seem to be rushing about in the the morning think about your routine. Do you give yourself enough time to get up, get ready and leave without breaking any land speed records?
If not, get up earlier! Try getting up 10-30 minutes earlier in the morning so you can have a more relaxed start to your day. If you iron your clothes when you wake up in the morning, start doing it before you go to bed.
Anything that allows you to slow down in the morning will help with your productivity, not to mention how much more awake you will feel.
Don’t skip breakfast
There is a reason why every single nutritionist on the planet say it’s the most important meal of the day guys!
Personally I don’t know how people do it. I love breakfast and I can’t function without it. Yet, there many people, I work with quite a few and live with one, who don’t think it is morning priority.
It should be! Why? In a nutshell, when you’re sleeping your body is in fasting mode meaning you wake up with low blood sugar. Low blood sugar is the reason why we feel tired and often irritable in the mornings – as anybody who knows me well knows. So let me end the myth of the “morning person” there, it’s not you. It’s your need for fuel that keeps your body running.
Replacing food with caffeine will give you a short time boost, but it’ll wear off and you’ll start to crash during the day and it will start to affect your productivity. So when you hear yourself say you can’t function without coffee, what you really mean is you should have had some breakfast.
A healthy breakfast can give you a massive boost in productivity. Choose foods that are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Avoid foods with added sugars!
Stop taking on the easiest tasks first
It’s tempting, course it is, we’re only human. This is never more true when there is something that needs to be tackled that we’re dreading.
By taking on the easy jobs first, all you are going to do is push back the harder stuff further and further to the back of your pile until eventually they’ve been sat there waiting for you to take care of them for days.
Tackling the harder stuff on your to-do first is actually better for your overall productivity. Willpower is a finite source of motivation, and no surprises as we start to tire our willpower wanes.
Create a to-do-list and prioritise your tasks effectively. Get the hard tasks out of the way first where possible.
Put your phone away
OK confession time, I’m a social media addict and I wouldn’t even like to throw a number out there in terms of how many different times I check it a day.
I can honestly say the sheer panic I go through if I can’t locate my phone at first glance is embarrassing.
Mobile phones (or cell phones to our American cousins) are literally the worse and easiest distraction ever invented. Ridiculously addictive in every way, and one of the biggest things that can affect your productivity. If it’s on your desk at work, your productivity levels are under severe risk, make no mistake about that!
Although that text, Whatsapp, tweet or Facebook message may only be a short-lived interruption, your thoughts are disrupted for considerably longer, making it difficult to refocus on the task at hand.
Switch it to silent, or preferably turn it off altogether.
Don’t get trapped down the rabbit hole
Another one of my downfalls. We’ve all been there, you read a story on the internet, click on a related article or other page and before you know it you’re trapped down the rabbit hole and have been mindlessly wading through tons of content, wasting valuable time for hours.
Having a job that requires internet research can really test your willpower on this one, trust me i know, but, if you can’t get some self control over it your day is gone in no time and very little gets done.
It can also be known as “Black Hole Browsing” and is one of the most productivity-sucking addictions out there.
Take your breaks
Now when I say this, I mean really taking a break, as in leaving your desk. First of all it is pretty anti social and you could be missing out on making some long life friendships sat there on your own,
Just as importantly, it’s bad for your productivity, bad for your creativity, bad for thinking and bad for your body.
If taking a step away from your desk is not the done thing I can understand it must be hard to break the mould. Just as if you have a major deadline to hit, it can seem a waste of valuable minutes to move to go and take your lunch.
However, taking a step back and eating your lunch away from your work environment can be mentally rejuvenating and much more productive than going at it full pelt all day. Move away from your desk, if the weather is nice enough enjoy some fresh air in a public park or canal, or build up your network by eating with your colleagues in the canteen etc.
Like, really listening! Can you honestly tell me your are giving anything your full attention if you’re answering every buzz your phone gives off, you’ve got your laptop open on your favourite website or you’re still in a daze from the mad rush you’ve just endured to get there on time?
No is the answer to all of it. Not listening properly can be costly and could tarnish important relationships, nobody like to keep having to repeat themselves when it is apparent that the other person isn’t giving them the required amount of attention.
Even worse, you might give the OK as if you’ve took all of required information in, when really you haven’t even got half of it and later find out you have absolutely no clue what you’re doing.
Learn to truly listen to what people are saying to you. You’ll benefit both professionally and personally.
Stop playing on your phone in bed
You go there to sleep not play on your phone. And, at the end of a busy day the last thing your mind needs is another distraction.
Many of you will relate to this one, you go to bed and start to browse on your phone, before you know it 45 minutes have passed and you’re already passed your bedtime. No doubt you’ll wake up late and we’re back at point one all over again.
Put the phone away and get a good night sleep!
Have you any bad habits that decrease your productivity?
He is also a contributor to Clear Debt, ICOUNT Money and M1 Debt Advice blogs discussing all things personal finance.